Friday, September 30, 2011

Fun For Foodies on DVD

--by Hanje Richards

As a companion piece to yesterday's post on "
Top 10 Food Books of 2011" from Booklist, here's a partial reprise of Hanje's "Fun For Foodies" blog from March that highlights movies from the library's collection related to food. Yum!

Babette's Feast - Some films can only be described as delicious. Written and directed by Gabriel Axel, from a short story by Isak Dinesen, this Oscar-winning film offers "an irresistible mixture of dry wit and robust humanity" (Newsweek). On the desolate coast of Denmark live Martina and Philippa, the beautiful daughters of a devout clergyman who preaches salvation through self-denial. Both girls sacrifice youthful passion to faith and duty, and even many years after their father's death, they keep his austere teachings alive among the townspeople. But with the arrival of Babette, a mysterious refugee from France's civil war, life for the sisters and their tiny hamlet begins to change. Soon, Babette has convinced them to try something truly outrageous — a gourmet French meal! Her feast, of course, scandalizes the local elders. Just who is this strangely talented Babette, who has terrified this pious town with the prospect of losing their souls for enjoying too much earthly pleasure?
Big Night - Actor Stanley Tucci cowrote, codirected, and stars (along with Tony Shaloub) in this touching and funny parable about two brothers, Italian immigrants, who run an unsuccessful restaurant on the Jersey shore in the 1950s. Convinced by a thriving rival (Ian Holm) that jazz great Louis Prima will be stopping by their eatery for a late dinner after a show, the brothers pull out all stops and spend their last dollar organizing a banquet that ought to make culinary history.

Eat Drink Man Woman - Trouble is cooking for widower and master chef Chu who's about to discover that no matter how dazzling and delicious his culinary creations might be, they're no match for the libidinous whims of his three beautiful but rebellious daughters. A master in the kitchen, Chu is at a loss when it comes to the ingredients of being a father. Every Sunday, he whips up a delicacy of dishes for his ungrateful daughters, who are so self-consumed that they don't see his attempt at showing them love gastronomically. So, as relationships sour and communications break down, Chu concocts a sure-fire recipe that will bring his family back together: He creates his own love affair to rival his daughters' affections!
Mostly Martha - Martha (Martina Gedeck), the domineering chef at a fancy restaurant, has her rigid routine broken when her sister dies in a car wreck, leaving behind her 9-year-old daughter Lina (Maxime Foerste). Martha takes the girl in, but has no gift for maternal expression; she offers Lina food, but Lina refuses to eat. Meanwhile, her control over her kitchen is threatened when her boss hires a buoyant Italian named Mario (Sergio Castellitto) to assist, and Martha finds herself flailing in an effort to reestablish control of her life.

- Our hero is Remy, a French rat (voiced by Patton Oswalt) with a cultivated palate, who rises from his humble beginnings to become head chef at a Paris restaurant. How this happens is the stuff of Pixar magic, that ineffable blend of headlong comedy, seamless technology, and wonder.

Woman on Top - When Isabella decides to break free from her rocky marriage and move to San Francisco, she discovers the perfect recipe for coming out on top — her own hit TV cooking show. But when her producer (Mark Feuerstein, What Women Want) falls in love and her ex-husband (Murilo Benicio) comes to town to win her affection back, who knows which man will end up on the bottom?